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Frmr. Guam Congressman and (ret.) USMC Gen. Ben Blaz, Interior Deputy Assistant Secretary Papaliitele David Cohen chat with Aumua Amata

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Amata Aumua and Ireland's Prime Minister Bertie Ahern. At the White House Shamrock Ceremony, Ahern presented the Irish shamrock to President Bush to symbolize in a very special way the bonds between the Irish and American people. Following the ceremony the White House held a reception with an elaborate spread of food and drink to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day 2007. Said Amata, "Speaking as a proud Samoan with a wee bit of Irish heritage, it was truly an honor and I thank the President for including me."


Press Releases

Aumua Amata tells local American Samoa students International Leadership Foundation 2009 Scholarships for Asian Pacific American College Students now available.

December 9, 2008

PAGO PAGO. Aumua Amata says ILF Scholarships for APA college students "are out there and available--all you need to do is apply right away as competition is keen." For the tenth year, the International Leadership Foundation (ILF) will award up to 30 fellowships to Asian Pacific American college students who the ILF identifies as future business, community or professional leaders. Fellows spend eight weeks in the summer interning for a federal government agency in Washington, DC and gaining firsthand knowledge of the workings of American government.

"The vision of the International Leadership Foundation is to recognize the importance of offering leadership opportunities to young Asian Pacific Americans is truly laudatory," said Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao at the ILF's Annual Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C.

Any Asian Pacific American undergraduate student with at least a 3.0 GPA is eligible to apply. Applicants and interested students can visit ILF's website at www.ILEADER.org to apply online or to obtain more information. The ILF works with government agencies to place each Fellow in his or her area of interest. Students who wish to apply must submit their applications no later than February 1, 2009.

Each Fellow receives a stipend of $1,500, funded by the ILF and its sponsors. Students must pay for their own travel, housing and living expenses during their fellowships. ILF Fellows attend weekly seminars and other events to learn about government, in addition to their internships.

"The ILF promotes public service, involvement, and effectiveness of Asian Pacific Americans," said ILF President Derek Chen. "Our purpose is to teach our future leaders how to use the government to serve the community."

The ILF is a non-profit organization that promotes civic involvement and entrepreneurial spirit of the future leaders of the Asian Pacific American community. Each year at its annual Awards Dinner, the ILF recognizes public service by distinguished APA community leaders. Cabinet Secretaries Elaine Chao and Norman Y. Mineta have been recent keynote speakers.


In 2008, Congressman Mike Honda, who has represented California's Silicon Valley in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2001, and Honorable Bobby Jindal, the newly-elected Governor Governor of Louisiana, were honored as Public Servants of the Year while American Samoa's Aumua Amata was recipient of the 2008 International Leadership Foundation Visionary Award.


Aumua Amata announces Washington Scholars Summer 2009 Application Deadline

Aumua Amata has been notified by her longtime friend and its founder Rear ADM (Ret) James Carey that the Washington Scholars Fellowship Program is currently accepting applications for its Summer 2009 Program in Washington, DC.

Said Aumua, "I enourage all interested young people to apply right away. This is a unique opportunity for our local undergraduate and graduate students to be able to spend time in our Nation's Capitol through participation in this great program."

Application materials and additional information are available at: www.washingtonscholars.org. The early decision deadline is January 2, 2009. The final application deadline is February 1, 2009.

The Washington Scholars Fellowship Program is one of the premier fellowship programs in the Nation's Capital. Each summer, approximately 30-40 outstanding undergraduate and graduate students are selected to participate in its 10-week fellowship program. Washington Scholars places Scholars in paid and unpaid internships that are structured to provide opportunities to develop leadership skills and further the Scholars' understanding of national public policy. Prior Scholars obtained internships at The White House, United States Congress, numerous executive branch Departments and Agencies, prestigious non-profit organizations, law and public affairs firms and Fortune 500 companies.

Washington Scholars provides financial assistance to Scholars that accept volunteer internships in government, public policy, media, public relations, and non-profit organizations. The scholarships must be used exclusively for travel, study, or other similar purposes. In addition, Scholars attend various educational workshops, conferences, youth leadership events, mentoring, networking and social events.

The Washington Scholars Fellowship Program was founded by Rear Admiral (Ret.) James J. Carey. Admiral Carey was Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission under President George H.W. Bush and was a Federal Maritime Commissioner under President Ronald Reagan. He is currently Chairman of the National Defense PAC and sits on the boards of several corporations, including American Business Development Group. Washington Scholars is funded by the generous support of numerous foundations, individuals, corporations and the Federal Government's Combined Federal Campaign.

The Washington Scholars Fellowship Program is operated by Future Leaders for America Foundation. The Foundation is a public charity exempt from tax under Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3). The Foundation is nonpartisan and does not participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. No substantial part of the activities of the Foundation's activities involve the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation.


Press Release

October 25, 2008

Amata dispels messenger myth; calls for vigilant and visionary leadership

Before a lunchtime gathering of the Rotary Club Friday afternoon, Congressional candidate Aumua Amata dispelled the argument over whether American Samoa’s congressional delegate should serve as a messenger in Washington for the governor and Fono leadership.

"No one I know who ever has run for Congress from American Samoa ever has advocated that our delegate be a messenger for our local leaders," Amata assured Rotarians. "So anyone who tries to frame the debate in those terms is misleading the public."

Instead, Amata said, the real concern should be to ensure that our delegate not become Washington's messenger to American Samoa, "bringing more federal control over our lives." If elected, she pledges “to do all in my power to maintain all elements of our precious self-government."

Citing such controversial issues as extension of U.S. citizenship to nationals, installation of a federal court, election of senators, earmarking of federal funds and local voting procedures as examples, Amata said those were the kinds of issues on which "the delegate should seek local consensus before trying to making changes from Washington. To do otherwise is to endanger the very foundation of our self government." Amata believes requests or demands for changes that would fundamentally alter the structure of government should be generated by the people.

Amata also said the same process of local consultations should have applied to the Tuna boat bill. She expressed concern that "the bill was moved through the process without any consultation with leaders or stakeholders in American Samoa. I believe this is wrong."

Amata explained that there are two kinds of legislation: bills that apply to everyone in the U.S. and those that are meant only for a certain group, in our case American Samoa.

When it comes to national legislation "we elect our delegate to be an independent voice to represent our interests based on his own judgment. I think everyone would agree with that. No one seriously would expect the delegate to check back with local leaders to get instructions on how to vote." However,” she continued, "when it comes to legislating for American Samoa... it is irresponsible for the delegate to offer legislation, especially on fundamental issues, without consulting with the people and seeking the advice of our local leaders." That is not the same thing as being a messenger, she said.

Outlining her own goals and objectives as delegate, Amata said the key is to be "vigilantly opportunistic" and "visionary." She said she would seek federal government and U.S. private sector help to take full advantage of the opportunities that will be offered by the fiber optic cable in upgrading ASCC and LBJ and opening the door to new economic development such as the call center.

At the same time, she said staying close to the action in Washington when the new congress and new president take office in January is important to making sure our interests are protected as new policies are developed.

"We must be certain that our interests are protected so that we do not run into another situation like the minimum wage bill last year. We must also be certain American Samoa is included in any legislation that will advance our interests. Too often in the past, we have been left out of bills and have had to spend needless time and energy to correct the errors."

Amata also observed that "it really doesn't matter who is elected president or which party controls Congress. The task of our delegate will be the same: to protect our interests and to minimize the effects of any cutbacks in federal spending. As Faleomavaega himself has pointed out so many times in the past 20 years, the key to the territorial delegates succeeding is to work in a bipartisan way. The proof of his assertion is, of course, that the one bill he did manage to get passed - the delegate plurality voting bill was passed during a Republican congress and signed by a Republican president. If elected, I plan to follow the same path Faleomavaega has taken when it comes to working with Congressional colleagues."


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